July 19, 2022
It is summer in Central Oregon and we all want to enjoy the water with our dogs. But there is something you should know before you let them swim or drink. Some types of Algae are toxic to dogs. Cyanobacteria (a type of Algae) produces a toxin that can affect dogs, people and livestock that swim in or drink the water. It can be many colors ranging from green, to blue-green to red-brown. There are different strains that produce different toxins affecting the liver, nervous system, kidneys or skin.
The onset of symptoms can be as rapid as 15 minutes after exposure or may take several days to manifest. Symptoms vary depending on the strain of toxin and can include:
- Weakness or Collapse
- Pale or Blue Gums
- Tremors or Seizures
- Excessive Drooling
- Difficulty Breathing
Unfortunately there is no antidote. If you believe your dog was exposed, rinse with fresh water and seek veterinary care immediately. Veterinarians can provide aggressive therapy to remove as much toxin as possible from the skin and stomach followed by supportive care focused on the affected organ system and preventing shock.
Each summer, Blue-green Algae is found some of the lakes and reservoirs in Central Oregon. Over the past 10 years it has been found in Lake Billy Chinook, Wickiup Reservoir, Crane Prairie Reservoir and Paulina Lake. These lakes/reservoirs are not always affected and other lakes may become affected. For a list of the current status of our lakes go to the Oregon Health Authority’s page on Cyanobacteria Current Advisories. https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/healthyenvironments/recreation/harmfulalgaeblooms/pages/blue-greenalgaeadvisories.aspx
Your best course of action is prevention. Avoid any water that is foamy, scummy, pea-green, blue-green, brown-red, or has any paint-like algae.
We want you to safely enjoy Central Oregon’s beautiful lakes and reservoirs with your pet. Just have a look at the water before you let them swim or drink and when in doubt, stay out!